Mike Illitch announcing his interest in owning the Detroit Pistons might make him the sentimental favorite among fans, but it looks like he won’t be the only one making a run at buying the team.
The good news? A couple rumored suitors today both have Michigan ties, meaning it’s looking more and more likely an owner will emerge who won’t want to move the team.
First up, Tom Gores, a businessman who lives in California but once called Genesee, Michigan, (just outside of Flint) home. From the Flint Journal’s me (after I shamelessly ripped it from the Detroit News):
Gores replied to inquiries from The Detroit News through a spokesperson, stating, "We don’t discuss whether or not we’re considering potential transactions and we don’t comment on market rumors, even when they’re incorrect."
Some background on Gores: he’s worth $2.2 billion according to Forbes, he coaches youth soccer, and he’s a self-made man who grew up in a working class family.
Johnson’s potential interest seems a bit more tepid, but it’s interest none the less. From NBA.com:
"Somebody back there has to be the majority owner," Johnson told NBA.com. "That wouldn’t be me. But if Ilitch or somebody — you’ve got a good guy back there already in Joe Dumars. If somebody said, ‘Hey, can you come and think about helping Joe Dumars?’ then I would think about it."
Well, Dumars, it seems wouldn’t object to such a move. But that has it’s own complications — Johnson owns a minority share of the L.A. Lakers, which he’d first have to sell. And with all of his other business interests, along with the above comment, it seems that Johnson isn’t too interested in having a big role in the day-to-day grind.
My take with Magic: he’s not that serious. Not that he’s dishonest, he’s just an affable guy who loves to talk, and "sure, why not, I’d love to help buy the Pistons." He’s from Michigan, but he’s a L.A. guy now. It would be really hard for me to believe he’d give up his ownership stake in the Lakers, not that I’d complain if he really did.